Ricardo Bellver, El Retiro, Madrid, 1878
Stunning to look at!
One bronze wing juts up
like the blade of a broken windmill fan.
Not Caravaggio's Saul, but a youth,
bound, crashing onto a stump:
a knee, an elbow, one hand raised.
Here, each Retiro sun, each full––
or nearly full––Retiro moon,
all the stars stand-in
for the blinding—deafening––
that has forced the angel down.
In just little more than half
a century, the notion
of the fallen resonates
in new ways. (The only statue
of Lucifer in all of Europe.)
And the notion of a sole
voice resonates in new ways.
Expedient, baroque entertainment
for a young bride born in the Escorial: 1745.
Within a year, her July death will be recorded
by a royal attendant with a flourish
in the residence of Versaille.
A couple of years
beyond the extravagant nuptial gavotting,
and, likewise, her daughter will be recorded
and lain by her side.
"How delicate the equipoise."
The shepherds—archaic or modern—
at their watering hole;
and the smaller creatures—
more moist, as brief:
all of them sipping from life's bowl.
And the race of the immortals,
uniformed frequent fliers, absolute
and radiant in their gold and white,
tinkle the ice in their drinks
in the perpetual cocktail party in the sky.
Once you exist, your divinity exists
untarnished forever; even after
the last supplicant, the last devotee,
dies––cruelly lapsing you
into oblivion. And yet,
"'Tis very tedious, this respect."
A capricious quartet of cloven footed
satyrs are dressed in nipple rings
and revealing black leather jock straps.
They spank themselves into a frenzy.
Living beyond every phoenix, you too
surely would take to the haute couture
beyond Mycenean gutta percha
and the elite ante-modern black anodyne dye.
The director and costume designer
have updated the colorful capers
and illuminations. A showgirl in bridal white.
The brave and bright eyed French tenor
channels the vanity and pathos of the naiad queen.
She stands awkwardly at the apex of the scene––
and edge of the dish––like a fabulous, nippled,
green gorilla doomed by her own nature,
In the darkness, ancient human
motives effervesce apart . . .
and then stubbornly begin coalescing again.
Yet everywhere the abundance
of the fascinating temporal: lightning
cracking through the crown of a violet sky;
fire, fireworks, rainbows, and rivers;
the aurora, the moon and stars; courage
and vision; an eagle, a fish, a polar bear,
a porpoise, a blue bird, a doe-eyed dog,
a set of baby ducks, a set of baby tigers;
ocean waves; grasshoppers; clouds;
cherry blossoms; clean water; silly
human affections; noble human
measured and unmeasured time.